German MP invites Eritrean asylum seekers to live with his family
Martin Patzelt said opening up his home might help 'get rid of the hostility' towards migrants in Germany
A conservative German politician has welcomed two asylum seekers into his home and is urging other citizens to do the same.
Martin Patzelt, an MP in the ruling Christian Democrats Party, invited the young men to live with him and his family after meeting them at his local church.
The two men, 19-year-old Haben and 24-year-old Awet, fled conflict in Eritrea and crossed the Mediterranean from Libya in a small wooden boat , the Daily Telegraph reports.
They have been in Germany for 18 month and are currently learning German with the Patzelt family as they await a verdict on their asylum application and take part in work placement schemes.
The Patzelts have five grown children and ten grandchildren of their own. One of their sons still lives at home, sharing the top floor of the house with Haben and Awet.
The invitation to the two men came after Patzelt wrote an open letter suggesting that German citizens should open up their home to refugees instead of housing them in migrant hostels.
It comes at a time when hostility towards migrants and refugees is increasing in many parts of the country, with Germany receiving the highest number of asylum applications out of any EU nation.
Earlier this year, the country witnessed the rise of the far-right group Pegida which calls for stricter immigration laws and limits to the country's refugee intake.
But Patzelt believes initiatives like his would go a long way in getting rid of the "polarisation and hostility" some people in Germany feel towards migrants and refugees.
"Partnership, providing shelter, looking after people, welcoming them – these small bridges help to give refugees a face and a name, so that they emerge from the anonymous mass of asylum seekers," he told German ARD TV. "If more people did that... we'd be on a good path."